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A Curriculum Dev in the Silicon Forest

Kirby Urner
5 min readMar 11, 2022


I’ve been a dev in the curriculum design business for some decades. My first full time job out of Princeton, was at an elite school in Jersey City, run by the Dominicans (St. Dominic Academy, appropriately).

I was mostly a math teacher but had a section of World History and later, once they gauged my abilities, I team-taught an honors What Does It Mean to Be Human? humanities course. That was a privilege, to team teach with a Dominican nun, among others.

Throughout this period though, I was stuck on two issues:

  • the role of computing technology in the high school math classroom
  • the role of late 20th century philosophy of mathematics in everyday pedagogy.

These issues carried on through my career, including as a consulting editor for McGraw-Hill in the 1980s, and later founder of my own company, 4D Solutions.

Global Data

I had returned from living in Eurasia and the East Coast (heavily influenced by Eurasia) to the West Coast and the city of my early childhood: Portland, Oregon. People still call it the Silicon Forest, and the subculture is not that of Silicon Valley, even if it features a lot of the same tech.

Today, the Oregon Curriculum Network (OCN), with 4D Solutions a for-profit hub, showcases various curriculum writings, along with write-ups of pilot field testing with same.

Showing off possible content is one thing. Actually testing it in the field is something else. I do both.

Rather than recapitulate all that work here, let me offer a little more context.

When I was growing up in Eurasia (Rome, Manila, Cairo…), I would sometimes hear about R. Buckminster Fuller (RBF). He was on the global lecture circuit, such as there was one back then.

I recall my 8th grade teachers in Italy coming to class one day, clearly pumped from hearing the guy talk. Triangles were not as stable as squares. They acted as if this were a revelation.



Kirby Urner